On 3 December, the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) that work in the field of probation signed a Declaration of Cooperation, thus establishing the “Support for Probation” National Network. The objective of the network is to promote the development of the probation institute in Armenia using CSOs’ potential.
The “Support for Probation” National Network was created by the initiative of the “Civil Society Institute” NGO in close cooperation with the State Probation Service of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia and the “Armenian Lawyers’ Association” NGO.
11 NGOs that conduct activities aimed at the development of the probation institute have already joined the “Support for Probation” National Network to support the probation institute.
It should be noted that the “Civil Society Institute” NGO in cooperation with the “Armenian Lawyers’ Association” and the State Probation Service of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia had organized a two-day workshop “Prospects for partnerships of public organizations and the State Probation Service”.
Mr. Arsen Navasardyan, Head of the Probation Service who had attended the workshop, mentioned that the role of civil society organizations in the establishment of the Probation Institute is great. “It should not only be a punitive institution, we must integrate the person in the society,” he added.
Mr. Artak Kirakosyan, Director of the “Civil Society Institute” NGO noted the importance of CSO involvement in rehabilitation programs for beneficiaries of the probation service.
“Our professional training courses for the probation beneficiaries have shown that the beneficiaries of in addition to acquiring a new profession, the environment in which they appear and communicate with other people also helps them,” Artak Kirakosyan said.
Mr. Karen Zadoyan, President of the “Armenian Lawyers’ Association” noted that the founders of the network were provided with free expertise, including legal advice, for the establishment of the “Support for Probation” National Network in the framework of the EU-funded “Structural Dialogue Outreach” project.
Karen Zadoyan, highlighting the creation and operation of CSO networks, and brought an example of CSOs Anti-Corruption Coalition of Armenia, thanks to which it has become possible to criminalize the illegal enrichment in Armenia, to introduce the System for the Whistleblowers ’Protection, and to have an independent anti-corruption body.
“We have been working for the implementation of these programs for 6-7 years, but we did not achieve objective results. We understood that these issues should be voiced unanimously. And only then we did have tangible results,” Mr. Zadoyan said.
It should be noted that all CSOs that are interested in the development of the probation institute can join the Declaration on Establishment of the “Support for Probation” National Network.
The “Commitment to Constructive Dialogue” action is implemented with the financial support of the European Union by a Consortium of civil society organizations, which are “Armenian Lawyers’ Association”, Agora Central Europe o.p.s (an NGO from the Czech Republic), Armenian Center for Democratic Education-CIVITAS, “International Center for Human Development” Public Organization, SME Cooperation Association and Union of Communities of Armenia.
The overall objective of the project is to enhance the influence of CSOs on the public policy process, and the specific objectives are to strengthen the ability of CSOs to build coalitions and focus on constructive and strategic policy engagement with local and central government partners. This will enable organizations (which already work in targeted coalitions) to acquire new resources, to join and encourage the civil society experts to engage in and encourage their participation in the formation of the local and national policies agenda; to identify common issues and priorities; and to address the government with constructive and strategic policy initiatives.
The project has a sub-granting component, under which grants will be provided to CSOs and CSOs Coalitions, which will be directed to the development of public policies and will have tangible results in 9 target areas, including justice, education and business.
The Armenian Lawyers’ Association (ALA) was established in 1995 with a mission to promote to the establishment of the rule of law, democracy and formation of the civil society in Armenia, where the people are aware of their rights and where their rights are protected. Before February 2016, ALA used to be called Armenian Young Lawyers Association.